The quantum lines of the universe had been breached, destabilizing at an alarming rate. Menshikov and Nadia were researching in hopes that they could repair the cracks, but this was easier said than done.
“Turn off key,” Nadia said, looking at Menshikov. He nodded, pulling the ignition key out of a complicated-looking machine. The machine made a loud beeping noise as it shut off.
“Bring in beast,” Nadia told Menshikov, who quickly opened a closet, spilling out many pieces of closet equipment and a half-invisible skeleton.
“You human researchers sure don't know what you're doing, you know. Haven't seen something this bad since the great butterfly race of ’76,” the skeleton said, but Nadia quickly zapped him with a high voltage taser. The skeleton fell into pieces and reformed, now completely visible.
“Bones, do the thing,” Menshikov said, looking at the skeleton. The skeleton released a large red energy beam out of his eyes, aiming at the complicated machine. The red beam made contact with the machine, charging it up, forming a large blue vortex. The portal quickly swallowed up the machine.
The door of the room opened. An old Russian man appearing to be in his 70s with a big, frosty beard brought in two large boxes of donuts. He looked at the massive portal.
“Надя, я получила твой заказ пончиков. Подожди, сейчас плохое время? Хорошо, я пойду быть комедийным где-нибудь в другом месте,” the man said in Russian. He walked out of the room, closing the door behind him.
Nadia and Menshikov approached the portal. The skeleton bonked each of them on the head with a very soft rubber chicken, knocking both of them out almost instantly—but he made sure they both got a soft landing. The skeleton stepped through the portal, and it closed behind him.
The skeleton was now in a fancy-looking room. The walls were covered in painted gold. Hundreds of trophies and photos were contained within the large room. In the center of the room was a diamond desk, as well as a black silk chair.
A very fancy man sat in the chair. “Glad you could make it, Chaps,” the man spoke.
Chaps summoned a cup of tea out of thin air, pretending to drink it.
“The name’s Willis,” said the man. “Joe Willis.”
Chaps gave a curt nod. He waited a couple seconds, and then he burst into laughter. “And I’m Chaps! Can you imagine if this was really how we first met? Oh, fake introductions get me every time. Anyway, of course, Mr. Willis. Thank you for the rubber chicken. Who knew the power those hilarious little things hold?”
Joe stroked his curly mustache. “Yes . . . never underestimate the mundane.” He clapped his hands together. “Now! Were you able to obtain what we needed?”
Chaps nodded. He lifted his hat and dumped a single Uno card into his hand. “I found it in Menshikov’s room before I was captured,” he said. “Ingenious disguise, honestly. I quite enjoyed it.”
Joe took the card and scratched it with a butter knife he summoned out of nowhere. The Uno logo faded to reveal a long series of numbers. “The code,” Joe said in awe. He peered at the card through his golden monocle. “Yes, it’s certainly genuine.” He opened a drawer at his desk and put the card inside, then locked it and hid the key inside of his mustache. “Anyway. As you can see, Chaps, you are the only guardian here at the moment. Do you know where the others may be?”
Chaps summoned a red, velvet armchair and sat down contemplatively. “Well, Copernicus is dead. Long story, please don’t ask. Bramble is currently decapitated, yet alive in the Yarn Dimension. Stitches the conductor keeps him in the glovebox of his train. The Princess of Kittens is in space somewhere. I have no idea where, honestly. And I forgot if there were any others. Oh, wait! Jack Chandler is on Earth. He has guardian blood in him. He just . . . needs a little training.”
Joe nodded. “I see. Well, this is a very important mission. We’ll need all the help we can get. Where do you think we should go first?”
“Well,” said Chaps, thinking logically, “if we go in reverse alphabetical order starting from the letter M, then Mr. Jack Chandler would be first on our list.”
“Makes sense,” said Joe. “Besides, if he’s the one who needs the most training, fetching him as soon as possible would be the smartest route to take. And you know how to get in contact with him?”
“Sure I do,” said Chaps, adjusting his already-straight bowtie. “The best way is obviously to write out a one-act musical explaining the mission that will be sent to be performed in front of him by our best actors. I will start drafting it immediately.”